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Friday Night Lights | 2004 | PG-13 | - 4.4.5

Based on the book about high school football by H.G. Bissinger, the film depicts life in Odessa, Texas during the 1988 season. The high school football team has dreams of making it to the state championships, and Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) inspires the boys to be "perfect," while the whole town seems fully devoted to the Friday night football games. Also with Derek Luke, Garrett Hedlund, Jay Hernandez and Lucas Black. Directed by Peter Berg. [1:57]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A young man and a young woman kiss passionately while walking into a darkened house, they lie back on a sofa, they remove their shirts (we see him bare-chested and her in a bra), they continue kissing and are interrupted by the young man's father. A young woman gets dressed (we see her in panties and a top) while a bare-chested young man fastens his pants -- implying that they have had sex -- and she kisses him. Young men and young women are shown kissing and caressing each other in several scenes. Young men and young women dance close together. A young man tries to convince another young man to go to a party with him and makes crude remarks about the probability of having sex with young women. A young woman asks a young man if he is gay, then asks him to prove that he is not. We see many bare-chested young men with towels wrapped around their waists in a locker room. While they flip and jump in several scenes, cheerleaders wear short skirts that reveal bare thighs. A young man is shown bare-chested while running. Young women wear low-cut tops that reveal cleavage.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A man throws his son down onto the ground twice while yelling at him, and then punches him in the head (the young man is wearing a football helmet). A young man yells at his father, the father becomes angry and yells back at the young man and proceeds to duct tape a football to the young man's hands. A man in the back seat of a moving car kicks the windows out of the back of the car causing the driver to swerve. A man talks about his father having beaten him with a bullwhip. There are many football game scenes that show young men slamming into each other, being thrown into the air and landing hard on the ground, repeatedly, and with many injuries: several players are shown with bloody gashes on the heads, faces and arms, one young man holds his hand up and we see a dislocated finger, one young man is tackled at an angle and we hear a loud crunch when his leg is badly injured (ACL tear) and we hear him yelling and see him writhing on the ground, a young man has blood pouring from his nose and he spits blood on the floor, a young man's arm is dislocated during a game and a doctor pops it back in place (we hear the pop and the young man yells), and a young man is tackled and yells in pain from a recurring leg injury. Two young men tussle and fight briefly. Young men slam into each other repeatedly during a football practice drill. Coaches yell at young men in many scenes. A young man hits his head against a pole in anger. A man yells at and demeans his son in several scenes. A man talks disrespectfully to a woman. Three young men shoot skeet. Young men talk in an aggressive manner, referring to how they are going to manhandle members of an opposing team during a game. There is tension in the scenes preparing for a game and during a game between a mostly white team and an African-American team.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 1 not fully enunciated F-word, 1 bleeped F-word, 2 sexual references, 7 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 20 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans, 4 religious profanities, 1 religious exclamation.


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SUBSTANCE USE - Underage people are shown drinking alcohol to excess, other people also drink alcohol, and one in particular appears to have a drinking problem; a young man is shown chewing tobacco, and people are shown smoking cigarettes.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Sports vs. education, high school football, pressure to succeed, small town life, guilt, racism, memories, corporal punishment, child abuse, strained relations between father and son, mental illness, winning, responsibility, humiliation, conceit.

MESSAGE - The world is not fair. People have to take care of themselves. Sports should not be your only professional option in life.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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